Advanced Manufacturing Technologies

  • Biomanufacturing Supervisor

    This video adapted from Connecticut's College of Technology/Regional Center for Next Generation Manufacturing features Jeff Hotaling, biomanufacturing supervisor for a leading medical device maker. Jeff talks about the challenges and opportunities he faces in his factory workplace, which assembles retractable safety syringes. He explains that all assembly equipment is software driven, and that machine operators need to know how to run the program. He also details his typical day, which involves leading group meetings, discussing product quality and equipment issues, preparing production reports, and managing both payroll and inventory.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Welding Supervisor

    This video segment adapted from Pennsylvania College of Technology and WVIA features Jennifer Brinkley-Cruz, a manufacturing specialist with Toyota's Georgetown, Kentucky, manufacturing plant. Learn about her workday and her responsibilities in a part of the plant called body weld. While robots make 97 percent of the welds used to build vehicles in this plant, Brinkley-Cruz explains that humans are needed to oversee their operation. Brinkley-Cruz also discusses the importance of her welding education in landing her job as supervisor.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Welding

    This video segment adapted from Pennsylvania College of Technology and WVIA examines welding, a profession that currently employs about 500,000 people in the United States. Due to an aging infrastructure that includes highway systems and bridges in need of maintenance and expansion, welders are expected to be in heavy demand over the next several years. The video demonstrates welding techniques, explains the consequences of bad welds and how to recognize when a bad weld has been made, and identifies different pathways to a welding career.

    Grades: 9-13+
  • Pneumatic Actuator Systems

    In this interactive activity adapted from MATEC, learn about pneumatic actuator systems, which use compressed air to transmit motion. Animations illustrate the components of a typical pneumatic actuator system: the computer, communication module, programmable logic controller, input/output module, solenoid valve, and pneumatic device. Observe how the system functions as a whole, and learn more about some common pneumatic devices.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Closed-Loop Systems

    In this interactive activity adapted from the Wisconsin Online Resource Center, learn about the elements of a closed-loop system. An animation illustrates typical components (such as an error detector, a controller, an actuator, and a measurement device), as well as the input and output signals for each component. The activity also allows you to compare the animation to a standard block diagram to see how the various elements in a closed-loop system can be represented in a simplified form.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Plastic Race Car Competition

    In this video segment adapted from Pennsylvania College of Technology and WVIA, follow a class of high school students participating in a technology competition and learn about how plastic products are made. Meet a group of 11th graders who are introduced to possible careers in the plastics industry through a remote-control race car project. Observe how the students design a car body and then construct it using the process of thermoforming. In addition, learn about other common plastic processing methods: extrusion, blow molding, rotational molding, and injection molding.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Introduction to Plastics

    In this video segment adapted from Pennsylvania College of Technology and WVIA, learn the basics of the plastics industry. Plastics are made of polymers—small molecules strung together in long, repeating chains. The video highlights properties of plastic polymers and shows examples of common plastics (nylon, polyethylene, PVC, and PET). An animation illustrates how monomers join together through the process of polymerization to form polymers, and a lab demonstration shows polymerization at work in the formation of nylon. In addition, learn how polymers are produced in large reactors and how resins are made.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Processing Wheat for Food | Montana State University

    Observe the wheat production process, from raw product to finished good in this interactive activity adapted from Montana State University. Learn about the structure of the wheat kernel, or seed, and how foods are made using ground kernels. The interactive activity also features a map of the United States, showing where specific wheat varieties are grown, and an animated demonstration of the process through which wheat is made into flour.

    Grades: 7-12
  • Testing the Quality of Wheat Products

    In this interactive activity adapted from Montana State University, learn about one of the most important stages of the manufacturing process: quality analysis and control. The activity features animated demonstrations of the bread-making process as well as tests used in the food industry to determine flour quality, dough quality, noodle quality, and cookie quality.

    Grades: 7-12
  • Careers in Plastics

    Learn about career opportunities in the plastics industry in this video segment adapted from Pennsylvania College of Technology and WVIA. Visit NPE: The International Plastics Showcase, the biggest plastics gathering in the world, and meet some people from the industry. Hear how different academic degrees can lead to different types of positions within the plastics industry. In addition, learn how emerging technologies such as recycling and bioplastics are a part of the sustainability and environmental movement.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Laser Technician Supervisor

    In this video segment adapted from Connecticut's College of Technology/Regional Center for Next Generation Manufacturing, laser technician supervisor Dave DeGrand describes his typical workday and the education needed to succeed in the cutting-edge field of industrial laser manufacturing. Teamwork is essential to success. Dave needs to communicate with people at all levels within the company, including engineers and the technicians he supervises. Daily team meetings help him understand the problems that occur. The ability to troubleshoot is also a valuable skill to ensure that operations run smoothly and customer deliveries are met.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Careers in Advanced Manufacturing Technologies

    This interactive activity produced by WGBH looks at five possible career paths in advanced manufacturing technologies: design and development; production and quality assurance; inventory and distribution; health, safety, and environment; and installation, maintenance, and repair. Learn about the education and experience required for jobs such as model maker, industrial designer, machinist, quality control inspector, storage and distribution manager, purchasing agent, environmental science and protection technician, industrial safety and health engineer, industrial machinery technician, and industrial electronics technician.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Green Technology: Sustaining the Earth

    In this interactive activity produced for Teachers' Domain, explore five different areas of research and innovation in green technology: renewable energy and conservation; green building; transportation; manufacturing; and pollution and waste management. Within the categories, investigate examples of innovations in solar power, biofuels, energy efficiency, materials efficiency, planes and trains, automobiles, electronic paper, consumer electronics, carbon capture and storage, and bioremediation.

    Grades: 6-13+
  • Interference and Diffraction

    In this video from the ICT Center, learn about interference and diffraction. See how the wave properties of light are used to explain interference patterns on a screen, and learn about related technologies such as the Fabry-Perot cavity, Bragg gratings, interference filters, and antireflection coatings. In addition, learn how diffraction patterns are produced, and study the grating equation.
    Grades: 11-12
  • The Index of Refraction and Snell’s Law

    In this video from the ICT Center, learn about the index of refraction and Snell's law. Review a simple example of refraction, the speed of light in materials and the formula for calculating the index of refraction. Explore a table of the refractive indices of common media and materials used in fiber optics and semiconductors. Finally, examine Snell's law to understand the relationship between incident and refracted angles.

    This video is available in both English and Spanish audio, along with corresponding closed captions.

    Grades: 11-13+
  • Critical Thinking and Problem Solving in Advanced Manufacturing

    In this media-rich lesson plan, students learn how critical thinking and problem solving are used in advanced manufacturing fields, then apply what they’ve learned in activities that are based on real-world scenarios.

    Grades: 9-13+
  • Planning Your Future Career in Advanced Technology

    In this media-rich, self-paced lesson, students explore the range of industries that produce and rely on advanced technology and learn how their skills and interests may align with career opportunities in this cutting-edge sector. The lesson contains videos that feature professionals describing their work and educational experiences, and provides details on the different college-level programs that prepare tomorrow’s workers for the industries’ challenging and well-paying jobs. The lesson concludes with activities that students can complete to help them more clearly define their goals and plan pathways to rewarding careers.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Engineering Technology: Electronic Maintenance Technician

    Learn about the role of an electronic maintenance technician, and see how this important position keeps the machines in a factory moving in this video adapted from Pathways to Technology. Community college graduate Brad Richardson always liked taking things apart to see how they work, and his job at Tupperware gives him that satisfaction. Brad describes what brought him to study engineering, and what he does in his career.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Process Technology: Process Maintenance Engineer

    In this video adapted from Pathways to Technology, you’ll meet Tyrone Walker, who keeps the enormous machines at a Tupperware factory running 24/7/365. Tyrone is a process maintenance engineer. This means he inspects all the parts of a machine's electronics system looking for problems, from the tiniest components to the machine as a whole. Tyrone's community college degree in electronic engineering is key to doing this job, which he loves.

    Grades: 9-13+